Paperbound Review

Tuesday, March 31, 2015
My standard of measurement for multiplayer brawlers is Super Smash Bros. Melee. Almost every brawler I've played since has fallen short of the joyous chaos of of my time with that incredible game. Almost no match played out the same way, and no matter how much time you put into it there was some new trick or nuance to learn. Even the more recent Smash Bros. games have fallen short of this gold standard. In some 14 years the only game that has met the bar is Paperbound.

3ppT: 3/26 Recap

Friday, March 27, 2015
So, last night we started our new adventure, "The Midnight Mirror" by Sam Zeitlin. The party consists of:

  • Avarlene Tertheniel - the elven Battlelord made a recurring appearance for "The Midnight Mirror", bringing skilled coordination and deadly archery back to the table.
  • Thurlavald Turnipnose - this gnome Metamorph was so cool, I couldn't let him wither unplayed, so he was recovered from the "Twin Crossings" reject pile and given a second chance.
  • Morek Twiceborn - this forgeborn Tactician from Dreamscarred Press' "Ultimate Psionics" was both the party's communications hub thanks to his Collective Telepathy, and their thug, dropping the big hits with amazing accuracy thanks to his Roshan's inevitable strike power. I learned two things from Morek: Tacticians rock, and forgeborn are not the best race for the class. I brought it together, but it's a good thing Morek doesn't need to worry about the later game and leveling up, because there's all of like two Strategies that don't rely on Charisma.
  • Watler - this ratfolk Momenta was a last minute add to the line-up; there was supposed to be a fetchling synergist, but while I was working on Watler for another project, I realized he really needed to be part of this group.

3ppT: 3/19 Recap

Thursday, March 26, 2015
I have to start by apologizing; unfortunately between job hunting, wedding planning, and various other mandatory activities, I didn't get last week's articles up in a timely manner, so now you're getting last week's recap and this week's recap, one right after the other.

Last week we ended up finishing the Twin Crossings adventure, with our original cast of characters returning (though the role of Avarlene was played by a new player, as the previous was unable to make it in). For reference, that's Avarlene the Battlelord, Gruff the Shadow Assassin, and Morgan the Magi.

Party Hard: Killing them Hilariously

 From the ludicrous scenarios of No Time to Explain to the chaotic races of Speedrunners, Tinybuild is known for having games with interesting premises. With this in mind, I was not surprised by what I saw in the announcement of Party Hard. The best way I can describe it is an absurd retro Hitman with a touch of Monaco. If Bullfrog's "Theme" series had made a murder based game (Theme Hospital doesn't count), the result would have looked much like this.

The Ocelot Room: My Children and Minecraft

Tuesday, March 24, 2015
In their world
cows graze in caves,
squid swim beneath the ice
of frozen mountain ponds.
Rough dunes are pock-marked by
small tunnels leading far beneath the surface.
Here, a square sun sets and rises
on high towers of glowing stone.
My daughters live here.
The tunnels were their first excursions into the earth
the mountain squid
remnants of forgotten experiments.
The monolithic towers built
so each knew where the other was
until they numbered so many
as to become indistinguishable as one tree from another.
The eldest wears diamonds as armor,
builds houses on precious stone as would Tolkien's dwarves.
The youngest sleeps beneath the dark roof of her bedrock home.
Above the bed, a window
opens on a room full
of wild cats, ocelots.
Her ocelot room.
Together, they explore jungles
tame wolves and horses
trade goods with villagers
raise chickens and cows
Tomorrow they will search the desert for treasures
scour caves for lost cattle
and fish for squid in the mountains
And be back in time for dinner
where they will smirkingly tell me
of the fish that made housecats
of ocelots.

Final Fantasy: Type-0 HD - If it's not too late, don't waste your money

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Normally I'm the kind of person who, if I don't have anything positive to say about a game, just doesn't say anything. It's not really worth my time to write about a game I don't care about, right? But Final Fantasy Type-0 is terrible, and I really feel it's only fair to let you know. This game was actually so bad, I had to wait a day to write about it, because yesterday afternoon I actually wanted to title this post "Type 0: a crappy game from crappy people who want you to waste your money on crappy things". My grumpiness was compounded somewhat by the fact that all the big review sites like IGN and Gamespot are giving this game glowing reviews that it frankly doesn't deserve, which led to me wasting money. Okay, enough venting, let me get into this.

Tales From The Borderlands Episode 2: Atlas Mugged

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Look, it's really difficult to write episode reviews without giving away too much of the story. I'll do my best to be vague here, but it's up to you all to play the game. Telltale has seldom let me down, and the second episode of Tales From the Borderlands really delivers. Everything that I thought might have been missing from the first episode has been filled out really well this time around.

3PPT: 3/19/15

Sunday, March 15, 2015
Just a reminder that this week, Third-Party Thursdays will once again be hosted by The Game Wizard - Blue Sky Hobbies. We'll most likely be wrapping up last week's adventure, though we've got some alternative options in place in the event that this week's attendance exceeds our main table capacity. Just like last week, I'll be posting a game recap Friday following the event.

The theme of our follow up adventure, slated for 3/26/15, is "Teamwork is Key" featuring a selection of teamwork based pregens from Dreamscarred Press' Ultimate Psionics and Path of War, as well as Amora Games' Liber Influxus Communis. Just like last time, anyone who shows up an hour before the event is welcome to use the table copies of either book to create their own custom character! If you already own either book, our character creation rules are pretty simple:

  • Classes must be chosen from one of our featured 3pp sourcebooks: Ultimate Psionics, Path of War, or Liber Influxus Communis.
  • Characters will be created starting at 4th level, though characters must be able to qualify for all feats at the level they would be gained.
  • 25 point buy for attribute scores, no scores higher than 18 or lower than 8 before applying racial modifiers.
  • Races chosen from the standard options presented in the Pathfinder Core Rulebook as well as fetchlings, with alternate racial traits from the Advanced Race Guide allowed. All races presented in Ultimate Psionics are also available.
  • Equipment purchased using standard Wealth By Level rules. 
  • Crafting feats disallowed (currently we're just not supporting the kind of continuity necessary to support them).
  • Allowed sourcebooks: Pathfinder Core Rulebook, Advanced Player's Guide, Advanced Race Guide (core races and fetchlings only), Ultimate Psionics, Path of War, and Liber Influxus Communis.

The heroes will be tasked with uncovering the mystery of The Midnight Mirror, a highly reviewed adventure from the 2011 winner of Paizo's RPG Superstar contest, Sam Zeitlin. I'll be posting a follow up article on Sunday, 3/22/15 with more details on the adventure and our pregen heroes.

Thanks for reading everyone, and I'm looking forward to seeing you there!

3ppT: The Recap

Friday, March 13, 2015

So, last night we had our first Third-Party Thursdays Pathfinder event. I'm going to tell you it went really well, then I'm going to give you some numbers that might seem to contradict that statement, then I'm going to justify it.

It was an awesome success. Great fun was had by all, cool classes were showcased, there were even some statistical improbabilities:

Paperbound, The Literary Brawler, Out Soon

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Paperbound is an indie game from Dissident Logic that we first played at the Seattle Indie Expo last year. Briefly, it's a fast-paced 4 player brawler built specifically for local play. It boasts a bunch of playable characters and crazy arenas for you and your friends to slaughter each other in. The arenas and many characters are inspired by books like A Book of Five Rings. Coming to PC and PS4 on the 31st of March, Paperbound is a smart, wacky brawler that will have you and your friends screaming with maniacal laughter.

This Anthology of Sci-Fi Games Will Swallow Your Afternoon

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Game jams are interesting creatures. A bunch of amateur game developers crowd into a space for a short time to build a bunch of short games, usually based on a theme. The results usually vary from intellectual meditation on an idea to nonsensical blur of chaotic fun. A few of those games go on to be fleshed out and refined into things like Nidhogg or the upcoming Party Hard. Outside of those few lucky titles, most of the genius and spontaneity of game jams is lost on the larger public. Antholojam, from Zoe Quinn and Alex Lifschitz aims to broaden the audience a bit. 

Third Party Thursdays (or 3ppT for short)!

Monday, March 9, 2015
So, a couple weeks ago I was laid off from my day job (which kind of sucks). The good news though, is that this meant I had time to work on other things. Given that the only thing I've made money doing in the last 5 years other than banking was tabletop game design for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, I figured I'd focus my efforts in that area.

One of the biggest issues with 3rd party game design is that your market is teeny tiny. You're basically relying on a fraction of the people who participate in a niche hobby to support you, and the competition for this itty bitty market is relatively fierce. I talk a bit about the struggles inherent in the industry here. In that post, one of the things I talk about is how important it is to promote amazing materials and challenge preconceptions, so I figure what better way to do that than by starting up an event dedicated to 3pp classes and adventures!

From 6pm to 10pm this Thursday, 3/12/15, I'll be running the first instance of an event called "Third Party Thursdays". I'll be using the abbreviation 3ppT for brevity's sake. I'll be running this event every week for the foreseeable future, and each week I'll be showcasing cool new materials from my favorite third party publishers.This week's event will be hosted by The Game Wizard - Blue Sky Hobbies here in Bremerton, Washington, a short ferry trip away from Seattle (or a reasonable drive from Tacoma). Chase Linbo, the manager at The Game Wizard, is working on adding a whole section to his RPG shelf specifically for 3pp products that might be hard to find elsewhere, and I've been working to keep him in touch with the best publishers of this material.

This week's adventure will feature classes and mechanics from two of my favorite publishers, Amora Games and their new book Liber Influxus Communis, and Rogue Genius Games with their Adventurer's Handbook. I've had the pleasure of working with both companies, and one of my classes, Amora Game's Battle Lord, will be available as a pregen character! Owen K.C. Stephens has also pitched in to back this event by providing me with several copies of his Adventurer's Handbook, so not only will we be featuring classes from that particular work, but we'll have a few on hand to give away to participants!

Our roster of pregenerated characters is as follows:

Avarlene Tertheniel, an elven Battle Lord who uses group tactics called Drills to organize and bolster her allies

Gruff Grimbeard, a dwarven Shadow Assassin who specializes in infiltration and espionage.

Thurlavald Turnipnose, a gnome Metamorph whose arboreal evolutions allow him to attack with tentacle-like vines while blending into wooded environs.

Morgan Fire-eye, a human Magi who blends the arcane healing capabilities of a witch with the metamagic mastery of a wizard.

Garn Blackhand, a half-orc Warloghe whose pact with an onryo, a spirit of spiteful vengeance, gives him dark and sinister magical abilities.

Menevian Duboise, a half-elf Death Mage who uses his mastery of the powers of life and death to hunt down and eradicate undead.

And if none of those tickles your fancy, anyone who shows up at the event at least an hour before the starting time can feel free to peruse through the table copies of Liber Influxus and The Adventurer's Handbook and make their own custom character following our table rules for character creation!

If you're in the area, or can be, we'd love to have you at this week's 3ppT!

There is no Problem in Homeworld that Can't be Fixed With Salvage Corvettes

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Those of you familiar with Homeworld already know what I'm talking about. Listen up, rookies; this technique will save your sorry asses a hundred times. Gearbox made a lot of improvements to the look and sound of Homeworld but they've left the AI and mechanics largely intact. I started testing my old strategies as soon as I could get the game up and running. There are plenty of dastardly strategies you can use to gain the upper hand: cloak fighters still mop the floor with corvettes, mining resource fields still works to cripple your opponent, and the salvage corvette is still the most powerful ship in the game. Yes, that's right. Salvage-fuckin'-corvettes.

Mothership: Homeworld Remastered Collection

Tuesday, March 3, 2015
The concept art cutscenes were one of my favorite parts of the campaign.

In 1999 I was introduced to the original Homeworld. For almost a year, it was all I played. That game and its sequel were unlike anything else I had played before. More than most, they shaped my love of strategy games. Gearbox's acquisition of the Homeworld IP was announced on my birthday in 2013; I took it as a good omen, but I couldn't help but be a bit apprehensive when I remembered the disaster that Duke Nukem Forever became. Since then, Gearbox has showcased a number of things that bolstered my confidence in their stewardship of the series.